Dig IN demonstrates that investment in Indiana food and agriculture, through education, experiences and conversation, benefits our community and economy. The organization provides educational resources for agricultural, culinary arts and local food sectors in Indiana. It increases awareness of Indiana’s diversity in agriculture and culinary arts, and Dig IN facilitates connections within the Indiana food community to enhance economic development opportunities.
Indiana is an agricultural state, ranked 10th in the nation in terms of production. For some, the thought of Hoosier cuisine conjures up images of State Fair food, such as the fried pork tenderloin or sweet corn. Delicious as those are, there are countless varieties of proteins, produce, and packaged foods being made all over Indiana. Indiana is the largest producer of ducks in the US, and has top ranks in the production of corn and popcorn, soybeans, processing tomatoes, peppermint, eggs, and even ice cream! While we are proud to help feed the nation, can we feed ourselves? According to a 2012 report*:
“Yet Indiana does not even feed itself, let alone feed the world. The state imports an estimated 90% of its food. More than $14.5 billion is spent by Hoosier consumers each year buying food sourced outside of the state. Personal income for workers in food manufacturing, distribution, and retail industries has fallen in recent years.”
However we believe in the resourcefulness and resiliency of Hoosier farmers. According to the same study, it would only take an additional $4.50 per week, or $230 per year, of purchases made directly from a Hoosier farmer to generate $1.5 billion in additional farm income for the state. And innovative practices are rising to the challenge of creating that food supply for Indiana consumers to spend their $230 per year. Hydroponic greens, organic farms, urban farms, pastured animal operations and even aquaculture farms are working in tandem with conventional agriculture to produce the food that today’s consumer likes to put on their dinner plate.
Working together with Hoosier farms of all sizes and varieties, agriculture associations, community organizations, and you, the consumer, we can create a new future of Hoosier food.
*-Cited from the Ken Meter study, Hoosier Farmer? Emergent Food Systems in Indiana, Crossroads Resource Center, 2012